10 min read

Unlock the Power of Sunset Flow Emails

Written by Andriy Boychuk
10 min read
Table of Contents
    • As email marketers, we’re always looking for strategies to promote healthy engagement from our email subscribers. However, some of your subscribers’ interests may occasionally wane and become inactive. What do you do when this happens?

    That’s where sunset flows come in. Sunset flows are strategies you can implement to re-engage your inactive subscribers. They can also be used to supplement your deliverability strategy, but we’ll get into that later.

    Keep reading to learn more about sunset flows, including what they are, why they’re essential, and how to implement them in your own emails.

    What is a Sunset Flow?

    The sunset flow is a dedicated automation sequence that seeks to re-engage inactive subscribers. In this case, inactive subscribers are those who have never opened your emails or who have stopped. This flow is crucial to a direct-to-consumer brand’s email marketing strategy. It also enables you to identify and remove unengaged subscribers from your list for healthy email deliverability.

    Why are Sunset Email Flows Important?

    Setting up the sunset flow aims to get inactive subscribers to engage with your email, which means opening, clicking, or replying. But implementing a sunset flow also has other benefits:

    • Improve email KPIs – Healthy KPIs are essential to measuring your email’s success. However, if several people on your email lists are not engaging with your emails, this will be reflected in low open rates, click-through rates, and overall conversations. Using sunset flows can help you improve these values by either re-engaging subscribers or identifying inactive subscribers and removing them from your list—a win-win in either case.
    • Reduce cost for a service provider – Most email-sending platforms (ESPs) charge you per contact. If you’re sending emails to an inactive subscriber, you’re compromising your ROI for money spent to send these emails. Sunset email flows can lead to significant cost savings. You optimize your email marketing budget and resources by not sending emails to unresponsive subscribers
    • Support deliverability – Your email deliverability improves as you remove or re-engage inactive subscribers. ESPs recognize your emails as more relevant, potentially leading to better inbox placement and avoiding spam folders.

    Sunset Flow Best Practices

    These are some best practices based on what we’ve noticed with top-performing sunset flows.

    • Keep the flow to 3 emails – We’ve found this to be the sweet spot. Be sure to include at least one strictly text-based email. This email could be the final one from the CEO or a higher-up, where you ask them to update their preferences or reply to have a conversation.
    • Offer an incentive – The heart of your sunset email flow is the incentive you offer. This incentive should be substantial enough to capture subscribers’ interest. It could be a discount, a free trial, or exclusive access.
    • Highlight preference update options – Make it clear that your customers can update their preferences to review and change the type of content they get and the frequency. That way, customers see what they like and none of what they don’t.
    • Use urgency or FOMO – Create a sense of urgency or fear of missing out (FOMO) in your emails. Highlight the incentive’s limited availability or the offer’s expiry date. Phrases like “limited time offer” or “act now” can encourage immediate action.
    • Make it easy for them to unsubscribe – Some subscribers won’t be converted. Be sure to give them the option to unsubscribe so you can create a healthy email list. Make the option clear in the emails. A great way to do this is to include it as a CTA.
    • Send email from a different address – Receiving an email from a personal account, rather than a generic company address, can feel more genuine and inviting. Use a real name and personalize the sender’s name to foster a sense of one-on-one connection.

    Sunset Flow Best Practices

    If you need inspiration for your sunset flows, look no further. Check out some of the examples we’ve seen from top brands.

    Segmenting Your Email List

    You’ll have to segment your inactive subscribers to ensure your sunset flow is successful. By identifying those who haven’t engaged with your emails over a certain period, you can create a targeted list for your sunset flow.

    We recommend segmenting based on people who have not opened or clicked your emails in the last 90 days. Feel free to play around with the timelines. We also recommend including a set property for people on your email lists for your chosen time frame. This ensures that people who just joined your list won’t be added to this segment.

    Sunset Flows: Final Thoughts

    The sunset email flow is a powerful strategy for reconnecting with inactive subscribers and breathing new life into your email marketing efforts. By implementing this strategy, you can maintain a healthy email list, improve deliverability, and focus on engaging subscribers interested in your content.


    Talk email strategy with an expert
    Request free email marketing audit from our experts!